I write this postcard to you, as I just can’t manage a letter. It’s the lock down. It’s the online schooling. It’s my work life disintegrating and watching to see what rises from the ashes. It’s publishing a novel in a pandemic and feeling so disconnected through the experience of screens and rarely leaving the house or yard. I am out of sorts. In transition. Lost in a strange liminal space. When things were very challenging some years back when I was a single parent, very ill, and when my dad was dying and my mother going blind.
I turned to rereading Calvin and Hobbes, which I had read when I was much younger. It was unbelievable how these comics restored me. They were funny to me when life was more carefree, in easier, younger days.
And then a life jacket as a sandwich generation parent lost in turbulent seas.
Then I discovered the auto bio comics of Keiler Roberts, another life raft in new turbulent waters, where the older, wiser me cries and giggle through every Keiler strip.
It’s as moving and hilarious and droll as her previous books.
Roberts has a spectacular talent in chronicling parenting, working, drawing and being alive in this world while dealing with mental illness and autoimmune disease.
Last June my beloved cat died. It was a horrible time and I was devastated. It was peak lockdown in Nova Scotia and an emergency visit to a vet to have a pet euthanized was very complicated. I cried a lot. I put a picture of her on Instagram. And Keiler Roberts painted this postcard portrait of her, and also sent me some other lovely animal portraits. We have them on the mantel. Art therapy. I can’t think of anyone who can rival her skill, authenticity, hilarity and poignancy other than Bill Watterson. What I love about the collected comics is Waterson’s essay, on how C&H came to be, how he came to cartooning, and why he stopped. Let me end this post by saying that he’s all about being true to yourself, and following your gut, come what may. That you just never know what life may throw at you. There’s always a wild card. That’s Keiler Roberts as well. You do your work. You show your work. And you stay true to your vision. No apologies. No regrets. Okay, you can have regrets, and you can make art out of them. Onward.
Sparkles from the Atlantic,
Middle-aged Mermaid at sea with comics
P.S. I have an extra copy of My Begging Chart. I will mail it to you.